During Pizza Week we've talked a lot about pizza crust, but we've mainly focused on quick recipes, ones that don't need a long rise or even any yeast. But what if you have a little more time and want to make a serious pizza crust, one with yeast and chew and great flavor? I have the perfect recipe for you, and it takes no more work — just a little extra time. Meet the dough that made me a pizza-maker: Peter Reinhart's best pizza dough ever.
Peter Reinhart is arguably America's most famous bread-maker and pizza-fan. He has written several books about baking, including The Bread Baker's Apprentice and, notably for this topic, American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza. His bread books and guides are complete and thorough, but with a spark of humor and thoughtfulness. He is also a theologian and teacher, and if you've never seen his TED talk on the deeper meaning of bread-baking, treat yourself now. (I don't think of myself as the squealy fangirl type at all, but when I met Reinhart briefly at a conference this year I almost had a meltdown.)
I first met Reinhart's dough recipe on Heidi Swanson's 101 Cookbooks, where she raved about its ease and complex flavor. This was early in my pizza adventures, and my pizza experiences had been mostly mediocre. This recipe, on the other hand, while very easy and simple, turned out the most amazing pizza I had ever had.
The crust, in my opinion, is the most important part of a good pizza. A good crust should have some bite and chew, and serious flavor. It shouldn't just be a bland base. This crust delivered. The secret is an overnight (or really, up to 3-day) rest in the refrigerator, where the dough ferments and develops deeper flavor.
It also makes this dough very convenient. It takes 5 minutes to stir together and knead. Then the dough cut into individual pieces and slipped into the refrigerator. When you're ready to bake the pizza, just take the dough out of the fridge, leaving at least half an hour for it to warm up and get pliable. Then, bam — superb pizza.
This is my routine, now, with pizza. This dough, made the night before. I love the olive oil in the recipe, which I think makes the dough even richer and easier to handle. I do add a touch more salt, as I like a fairly salty pizza crust.
Ready to try it yourself?
→ Get the Recipe: Best Pizza Dough Ever Recipe at 101 Cookbooks
→ Visit Peter Reinhart's Pizza Website: Pizza Quest - An amazing resource for pizza freaks and geeks
Do you ever make Reinhart's pizza dough recipe? Or do you have another long-rise pizza dough recipe you recommend?
More Pizza Dough Recipes
(Images: Faith Durand)